The student news site of New Trier High School

New Trier News

The student news site of New Trier High School

New Trier News

The student news site of New Trier High School

New Trier News

Next week, vote in the primary election

Here’s why voting is important
New Trier News Editorial

As the highly-anticipated November presidential election begins to come into focus, we can’t forget about the first step: the primary. On March 19, Illinois voters will not only vote on the nominees for president, but they will also decide the nominees for other federal, state, and local races. To everyone who can vote, we encourage you to head to the polls next week—democracy counts on you.

Those who turn 18 by election day can register to vote and cast their ballot in the primary, even if they turn 18 after the primary and before the general election. In Illinois, people can register on the State Board of Elections website. The process only takes about five minutes and, once completed, does not need to be redone unless you move to another state.

The process appears simple, at least in our state, yet many people choose to stay home on election day. According to Pew Research Center, only 45% of eligible U.S. citizens voted in the 2022 midterm elections, down from both 64% in 2020’s presidential election and 48% in the 2018 midterms. 

The question of how much power any singular vote has on swaying an election is a valid concern to raise. In a heavily Democratic versus Republican political landscape, gerrymandering has played a potent role in sweeping state and federal districts to make elections less competitive when the general election rolls around. That is because, in most instances, if a district sways Republican, the nominee chosen in a GOP primary wins, and the same goes for Democrats.

That makes primaries the chance where voters have the most say in choosing who gets elected into office—not the general election. Yet turnout in primaries is on average less than half that of the general election, giving any individual vote a greater impact.

The proper operation of our government—local, state, and federal—occurs not when we watch from our couches on election day to see who comes out on top, but when we get out into our community, head to our local precinct, and cast our ballot. Since the U.S. is a representative democracy, our representatives in government are elected by and for us, the citizens. We are only strong when we vote for candidates that will serve our country the way we want. 

Voting should be a top priority for those who feel strongly about reproductive rights or gun laws, for example. In every election cycle, including in 2024, each candidate has a unique campaign platform, and whether they are running for the White House or the State House, one may speak to you. That is if you know what the candidates even stand for. 

Before casting your vote, we suggest taking some time to learn about the various candidates. The Associated Press, New York Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, and  WTTW News are useful platforms to jumpstart you in your civic journey. 

Students also have the ability to vote in a primary, general, or special election during the school day during a two-hour time period, according to the New Trier Board Policy.

So mark your calendars for Mar. 19, as it is your day to exercise the right to vote and participate in our democracy.

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